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Us 27, Sandy 10, America 9, United States 9, Paul 7, Sandy Greenberg 7, Hud 6, Indiana 6, Indianapolis 5, Asia 5, Delaware 5, Washington 5, Kentucky 4, China 4, Mr. Whitehouse 3, Kennedy 3, United States Senate 3, Greenberg 3, Boehner 2, The Nation 2,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    December 12, 2012
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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cannot afford more taxes. they don't want, they don't need, and they cannot afford a more powerful internal revenue service. with more agents looking into the details of their health care choices. but that is exactly what president obama and every democrat in this body has given to the american people. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask the proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i rise today to join with my colleague senator paul to discuss the life and work of an exceptional american, dr. sandy greenberg, who is here with us today in the senate gallery along with his wife sue and his sister brenda even as we speak. sandy in my view, is an honorary delawarean because he spends a month out of every year at one of our most beautiful delaware beaches, rehoboth beach. but he's much more than that, a successful businessman and if i than throw pivot --
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philanthropist, he has a wide array of business interests. he's a pioneer in the use of technology and medicine and helped bring telemedicine to rural health care facilities as chairman of the rural health care corporation. he was appointed by president clinton to the board of the national science foundation. and as a young man, he took a break from his studies at columbia where he roomed with art garfunkel to work in the nixon white house. all of this makes a substantive, meaningful contribution to our country. but there is one thing i have not yet mentioned. at the young age of 19, sandy went blind. he lost his sight, and with that all likely hope of a successful completion of his college career or a successful career in life. he was told by the social workers who met with him after glaucoma stole his sight from
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him that his future would likely consist of assembling screwdriver kits in a sheltered workshop in his hometown in upstate new york. but it's because of the kindness and the intervention of his roommates, art garfunkel and others who volunteered who dedicated countless hours to reading to him, to allowing him to finish his class work and to be successful in completing his studies at columbia and go on to harvard law school and then to oxford and then to go further and further. he's lived his entire adult life and achieved a career most of us can only dream of while also plunged in darkness. his exceptional courage and perseverance don't end there. today he wants to serve others and catalyze a transformative
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shift by ending blindness. is this outrageous? is this audacious? maybe. but that's what experts said when president kennedy stood before this congress -- when president kennedy, in the same year, 1961, that sandy lost his sight stood before this congress and challenged our nation to put a man on the moon by the end of that decade. the best and brightest minds, top scientists and researchers of president kennedy's generation rose to that challenge and achieved his impossible dream. now for this generation, sandy and his wife sue have once again raised our sights and challenged the best scientific and medical researchers in the world to rise to an enormous challenge, a challenge that's been with us from the beginning of mankind. in the bible itself we hear of blindness, of people who cannot see with their eyes but only their hearts for a millenia humanity has struggled to understand and overcome
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blindness, and yet today we have the scientific tools necessary to reach for a cure, to restore the physical sight so many of us take for granted. to those who otherwise live in darkness. to bring to the light the 39 million people in this world who live without sight, many in the world's poorest countries at a time when experts already believe 80% of blindness can be prevented or cured. we know we can do it. just think of what an awe-inspiring accomplishment this would be, what a triumph of the human mind of individual initiative, of collaborative effort of the scientific effort of modern technology and of our investment in the belief that america can and should be a world leader in curing the diseases that have ailed humanity for generations. mr. president, a majority of all research scientists in human history are alive today. that remarkable fact alone carries with it great potential. that's why sandy and his wife sue created the prize to end blindness by 2020, to take
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advantage of this incredible historic opportunity, to bring together scientists and researchers and end blindness by the end of this decade. to inspire them, the greenbergs provided a prize of more than $2 million in gold. why gold? well, it's a reminder of the color of the beautiful shimmering sunsets that sandy and susan enjoyed together in the waning days of sandy's sightedness. and it is a reminder of the beauty, of the challenge of a prize to restore to sight the millions who live in blindness. mr. president, i'm no expert on the health or science of the eye, but we are blessed to have in this united states senate two members who are. we had some supportive comments that will be submitted for the record by senator boozman of arkansas. but i'm particularly glad and honored to be joined today by senator paul, by dr. paul, who is not only a tireless advocate
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for the people of kentucky, but who by professional training and background is an ophthalmologist. i'd like to yield the floor to him at this time. senator paul. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: thank you, senator coons, for inviting me both figuratively and literally across the aisle to join you on this side. i'm glad to be here today. and for introducing me to this prize that sandy greenberg has brought forward to end blindness. i'm an eye surgeon. i have also done research in glaucoma. i have been a long-time member of lion's club international whose primary research and primary goal is the prevention of blindness. one of the heroes to the lion's eye movement and to our work worldwide on blindness has been helen keller who at the age of 19 months lost not only her vision but her hearing. in 1925, she came to the lion's
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club international with this mandate, and this is part of her speech from that day. she wrote -- "you have heard how, through a little word dropped from the fingers of another, a ray of light from another soul touched the darkness of my mind and i found myself, found the world, found god. it is because my teacher learned about me and broke through the dark, silent imprisonment which held me that i am able to work for others. it is the caring we want for the money, the gift without the sympathy and interest to the giver is empty. if you care, if we can make the people of this country care, the blind will indeed triumph over blindness. the opportunity i bring to you lions is this -- to foster and sponsor the work of the american foundation for the blind, will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness, no little
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deaf, blind child untaught, no blind man or woman unaided. there is a long history both in our country and in other countries around the world of private philanthropy in these prizes. going back to the early 18th century, there was a prize for longitude, the harrisons, father and son, worked for nearly 40 years to develop a clock to precisely measure where they were on the earth to measure longitude. we currently have something called the x prize which gave money last year to a company that developed a technology to speed up the cleanup of oil in the ocean after b.p.'s disaster. siemens foundation gives a $100,000 prize and it was given last year to a 17-year-old girl from california who developed a nanoparticle that with a chemotherapy agent goes directly to treat tumors. a prize from siemens was also given to a 15-year-old benjamin clark who won the prize for his
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work in how stars are born. i love the idea and i think it's underappreciated of private philanthropy. so today i'm happy to be here with you to congratulate sandy greenberg for putting forward this prize, and i hope it will bring some results. i really think that there are within our grasp the ability to treat and hopefully prevent blindness. thank you. mr. coons: thank you so much, senator paul. for the record, i ask unanimous consent to enter into a colloquy with my colleague from kentucky. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator from kentucky and the senator from delaware are authorized to enter into a colloquy. mr. coons: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, it certainly hasn't escaped the expert knowledge of my colleagues here today that 2020, the date of the prize that we have spoken about is also the new numerical indicn of perfect vision. so the 20-20 prize, the goal to end blindness by 2020 which is what the sandy and sue greenberg
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prize is calling us towards is also a year on the calendar, a year just over seven years away. and in those seven years, sandy greenberg has the courage, the audacity, the strength to believe that we can end blindness working together, end blindness by 2020. it's a goal that could transform our society, our world and the lives of millions who live in darkness today. we can do it. at earlier times in our history, as senator paul was just reflecting, we have come together in response to audacious goals or inspiring prizes to conquer other debilitating diseases, one that sandy greenberg shared with me when we sat in person and first talked about this was polio. a crippling disease that struck terror into the hearts of parents every summer. dr. jonas salk convinced medical researchers and charities like the march of dimes to instead turn their focus from treatment with devices like the iron lung to ending the disease itself. because of that kind of forward
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thinking, polio has now been largely eradicated and does not threaten children in the united states although it remains in a few isolated outposts around the world. we can see even more cutting edge examples today. my home state of delaware, just earlier this week, i met with scientific researchers, dr. kemeck from delaware state university and the leaders of a company called orthogenics that is taking on the audacious goal of ending sickle cell anemia. that particular effort banishing this disease from bodies around the world through research and development is something supported by public-private partnership. in the end, private contributions, extraordinary generosity by sandy and sue greenberg and his family are critically important. i also happen to believe there is a vital role for partnership with the national institutes for health, centers for disease control and others that have unique abilities to bring researchers together, hopefully for efficient and effective advances in medicine. so as the great disability rights advocate helen keller
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once said, just to continue the citations of this great forerunner, alone we can do little, together we can do so much. even in this area, even in this era of austerity, these times of budget crunching and belt tightening, in my view there are few areas more important for our sustained investment than the development of treatments and cures for devastating life-changing health conditions like blindness. and in my view, mr. president, there is also a pressing economic element to this humanitarian equation. economists have said that most of the new wealth created in this country in the last century came from biomedical research and its application to fighting, changing the human condition. they have told us that curing and treating ancient diseases and conditions is a lot of what's driven the extraordinary economic growth of this country in the last century, so we know that when we as a nation invest in making possible cutting edge advances, interconnected networks of learning make possible the next gigantic leap. and i am so grateful to sue and
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sandy for making possible this challenge, for putting out this pot of gold to literally lift the sights of teams all over the world, of individuals, of communities of effort. it is an effort that could literally bring sight to the blind. senator paul, any closing thoughts? mr. paul: i think what's great about the prize is it doesn't set a short and limited goal. it really goes for the whole thing, they want to prevent and cure blindness. i think we need more big thinking. we need to talk about let's cure diabetes, let's cure aids. sometimes it takes an incremental approach, but sometimes it takes a big, grander, bold vision. you mentioned dr. salk. in the early days with the polio vaccine, some actually died from the vaccine. he had to move forward despite some obstacles and despite some setbacks. originally, the whole idea of vaccination came from a dr. boyleston in boston back in the pre-- preceding the time of
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our revolutionary war. there it was a live vaccine taken from the actual pos actuals of someone who -- postules of someone who had small pox, a lancet was stuck into the postule. for this, dr. boyleston was hounded through the streets, mobs came to his house. the person he chose to vaccinate first were his kids. that took a bold step forward to vaccinate his kids. his kids survived and the rest is history. george washington had his family inoculated. back in the time of the revolutionary war, more people died from communicable disease than died from actual bullets. this it was true in most wars up until this century. so i think it takes bold vision, and i think sandy greenberg will help to move this along with his prize. i love the idea of incentives. we're a country built on incentives. i don't think any scientist is going to jump forward and say i'm doing it only for the prize. prizes don't hurt.
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we should acknowledge that these scientists who can come forward and may come forward with a great cure should be rewarded for that. and so i would just like to thank sandy greenberg and his family for setting up this prize, and i hope that out of this some great good will come for those who have gone blind in prevention. mr. coons: thank you, senator paul. i, like you, am confident that some great good will come out of this, out of this bold vision, out of this clear initiative. as we look forward at the health care debates that have raged throughout this chamber and this country in the last few years, i will simply say in closing this. as we look to the future for the united states, there is a path forward that says that the right way to deal with skyrocketing health care costs and the fiscal challenges that they provide is to simply crunch down, to limit and to narrow and to cut off access and to manage downward. and competing in a more compelling and i think frankly more american view is to say we
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should take bold risks, we should innovate, we should dare to speak of curing diseases that are immensely harmful and expensive that are challenges and burdens for our whole country and the world, and this prize, this challenge from sue and sandy greenberg is something that i think should lift the sights of all of us in this country to the very real possibilities of working together to find exceptional cures. so, mr. president, thank you for letting us speak today about this extraordinary american, his wife and his family and his quest to end blindness by the end of this decade. i urge anyone interested in this topic and interested in working with us further to visit the web site, endblindnessbyto 2020. com and to thank sandy and sue greenberg for their courage, perseverance and commitment to bring light to the millions of their fellow men and women around the globe. thank you. with that, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. coons: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that morning business be extended until 6:00 p.m. with all of the provisions of the previous order remaining in effect. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: are we in morning business? i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: the quorum call is vitiated. without objection. we are in morning business. mr. coats: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, the clock continues to tick away while we wait for the descent from the summit when the president and speaker boehner walk out with the tablets in hand saying we have a deal. many of us wonder if that's going to be achievable. we're holding our breath, but as we near the end of the year, clearly as has been stated repeatedly on the floor, the necessity of putting something
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together to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, the disastrous i ask unanimous consent sequences of our not acting, tax increases for every american taxpayer, massive cuts to defense at a time when the threats around the world are as varied and as great as we've seen in a long time. other essential programs of the federal government being affected by that. that's the last thing we need in this tepid economy with a lot of people out of work and hoping for some consensus to come together to provide a -- a long-term solution to our fiscal problem that continues to have a negative effect on our economy and more importantly, keeps people out of work. and so as that clock ticks, some are saying, well, partisanship is just too great in washington.
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the country's too divided. we're not going to be able to reach a consensus here in terms of how to address this problem. i disagree with that. over the last two years, and more, we have had a number of proposals brought forward on a bipartisan basis. it started with simpson-bowles, the former chief of staff to president clinton and al for a lon time, recognized asy two individuals that could take a look at the situation that we're in and make a proposal. that's been running two and some years running now. that was presented. the president's own commission, yet that was rejected by the president. then there, of course, was the gang of six, later the gang of eight which met at a bipartisan basis for a number of months. both sides contributing to an
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attempted package to put together to submit to the congress and to the white house. that was a bipartisan effort. the gang of -- the super committee of 12, six democrats, six republicans. they were, unfortunately, unable to come to agreement. that has brought to us this particular point in time because the failure of our effort to do this ended up in a procedure which drives us here to the end of the year and toward this so-called cliff. i've been talking to a number of my colleagues, republicans and democrats and others, there is a majority consensus here for putting together a credible long-term package to deal with our fiscal situation which would send a message to the world and send a message to our citizens that the congress and the government are serious about addressing our fiscal situation and putting us on a path to fiscal health.
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and in doing so it would restore the confidence of the american people, it would restore the confidence of investors around the world that america is getting its act together at a time when europe is struggling, at the time when japan is struggling and slowing down, when china growth is slowing, the world is looking to the united states to take the lead. as it has so many times in so many crises before. yet all they see is the stand-off and the inability to do what i think we all need to do. now, the choice is very clear. we have come to the point where i think most people looking at this understand that if we don't act now, the so-called kicking the can down the road no longer is a viable opportunity. no longer is something that we can afford to do. there's a group called kick it back, and i can see why the
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american people are frustrated over our inability to come to some agreement on this. and so obviously we hope that the president and speaker boehner will bring us that grand bargain by which we can evaluate and address before the end of the year. now, i have frequently said from this podium and back to the people that i represent in indiana that if we don't start with addressing the spending problem, it doesn't matter how much we raise in taxes or revenue, it doesn't matter how much else we do to address our problem if we don't address the out-of-control federal spending, we can't get from here to there. we can't put forward a credible package. it is no secret that over the years without laying the blame on one party or the other, our spending has exceeded our revenues now to the extent that we are plunging into serious
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debt and serious deficit. over a trillion dollars a year accumulated over just the last four years and a significant amount of money before that. it is unsustainable. whether you're a liberal economist or a conservative economist, whether you're a democrat, republican, or independent, or libertarian, do the math and it's simple math. it's not calculus. it's third grade math. you cannot keep spending more than a trillion dollars a year and borrow that debt to cover the difference and without having severe consequences. and the consequences we've had is a very slow recovery from a very deep recession that has stifled job growth, stifled innovation, kept people out of work. the latest statistics are that over 23 million americans are either unemployed, underemployed or have simply given up looking for a job,
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frustrated with their inability to find any work whatsoever. and a staggering percentage of those unemployed are young people, people under 30. robert samuelson wrote an article a couple of days ago stating is this the lost generation. basically saying that those in the under-30 category may have lost -- we may lose a whole generation of those who have -- will not from have the opportunity to gain meaningful employment, to realize their dreams, to participate in the american dream of getting a good job, marrying and having a family, of buying a house, paying the mortgage, doing the things which our generation has enjoyed. we've been given that opportunity. but a generation behind us is being denied that opportunity. and will it be the lost generation. the answer to that question
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falls on the shoulders of those of us here. not only at the white house with the president and his advisors but with the congress, the senate and the house. and we now have the opportunity, maybe a historic opportunity, i do believe it's a historic opportunity to right the wrongs and to put in place something that, yes, will have an impact, yes, it's medicine that we have to take for our excessive spending, but it will bring about the cure. and how many of us, thinking about the future for our children, our grandchildren, the nation's children, the nation's grandchildren, how many of us can stand here and simply say, well, we're doing okay at our level, our generation, but we're not willing to make any sacrifice whatsoever to ensure that this country can provide for future generations. most agree that if we don't have a package that has $4 trillion
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to $4.5 trillion of spending reduction over the next ten years, it will not be a credible package. and there's also now almost universal agreement that unless we incorporate entitlement reform or the mandatory spending that has to take place over which we have no control because of the laws we put in place basically say these go on automatically, now eating up 64% of our budget, and denying those who come to us about improving our roads, providing medical research, supporting education, whatever your interest, those interests are receiving less support than they have before, and they will continue to receive less support to the point where they may receive no support because the mandatory is projected with the baby boom retirement of accelerating to points which our
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country simply cannot afford, it will drive us into bankruptcy. so if the package that is brought down, hopefully, from the white house or if we do not address in this body the spending issue that incorporates the restructuring for the preservation of medicare, medicaid, and social security, but also with the realization that unless we do something those programs are going to go bankrupt, have severe impacts on those who are currently receiving those benefits. unless we do that, we will not have a credible package. senator wyden and i have proposed comprehensive tax reform as something that needs to be done, regulatory form is something that i support. but if we don't acknowledge that the final package presented to us incorporates those long-term solutions, we will simply be
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back here in the next debt limit crisis, we'll be back here in the next fiscal crisis, we will continue to see our country languish in terms of providing growth and job opportunities for our people, and we will not have addressed the problem, kick the can down the road one more time i think to the disgust and displeasure of the american people, they're cynical enough about our ability to do something as we speak, let alone what might happen if we can't come to an agreement that everybody knows we need to come to. mr. president, when i decided to run again in 2010 after being out of the senate for more than a decade, i didn't do it just to regain the title of senator. i didn't put retirement on hold and more time with my family aside because i thought it would be fun to be back here. i did it because i want to be able to leave a stronger country for my children and grandchildren. and for others' children and grandchildren. i did it because i want to
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restore this country so that america's future generations can enjoy the kind of life full of promise and opportunity that our generation has been able to enjoy. i look back over the history of our country and see the sacrifice being made from the revolutionary war all the way through the two-plus centuries, the world wars, the fiscal crises, the depression, the sacrifices that have been made by former generations so that future generations can enjoy the promise of america, unique of any country in the world in terms of providing opportunities for individuals and their families. all of us have experienced that moment when back home when the man or woman looks you in the eye and tells you they're putting their trust in you to do the right thing when you get back to washington. they're putting their trust and faith in us to make sound
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decisions, that the votes we take on the senate floor will strengthen our economy so that they can make their mortgage payments and get a job and send their kids to college and -- and enjoy the opportunities and benefits that have been so beneficial to so many of us. this is a great challenge. it's a historic moment. it's an opportunity to transcend politics, to rise above the petty partisan divisions and say let's join dispoag do wha -- jod do what is right for the future of this country. can't do this without the presidential leadership. the president seems to have an obsession with raising taxes. we haven't heard much from the white house in terms of addressing the spending issues, the issues that are driving our deficit forward, the issues that are, unless addressed, will not result in a credible solution to our problem. and so we're asking you, mr. president, we're asking you to join with us in making the
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tough decisions to do what i think we all know needs to be done, to not push this into the future any more, to not keep people out of work, to not keep that 23 million still looking for jobs, to address the plight of the 41% of the 23 million people either unemployed, underemployed or simply who have given up, to give them hope for the future, to give them some light at the end of the tunnel. so we're asking you to join us and we're asking you to do a grand bargain, to talk more than just about taxes -- increases, which we know can impact our job opportunities and our economy. republicans have put forth ideas in terms of the revenue portion of that without raising rates and destroying the opportunities for the nearly million sole-owned businesses and others who don't fall in the -- in the
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corporate category. but it's pointless. as david brooks said in "the new york times" in a recent piece -- and i quote -- "it's pointless to cut a short-term deal if entitlement programs are still structured to bankrupt our children. republicans and democrats could make 2013 the year of the truly grand solution." so that's what we're imploring you, mr. president, and that's what we're asking all of our colleagues to consider. take this historic opportunity. this is going to be our legacy. it's not a vote that we made in the past. it might not be a vote we make in the future. we will be judged at what we did at the time when the absolute -- the clock has run out, when the absolute necessity for a package grand enough to achieve credibility, enforceability going forward and to restore the
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confidence of the american people and the investment community, to -- to lead the world to recovery. this is our chance, mr. president, and i hope we take that chance. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate, having received the papers from the house with respect to h.r. 4310, passage of the measure, as amended, is vitiated, the adoption of the senate amendment is vitiated, and the amendment, ais modifiedwith the changes at. the question is on the adoption of the senate amendment. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. under the previous order, the question is on h.r. 4310, as amended.
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the clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. the clerk: h.r. 4310, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for military activities of the department of defense and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, it is bill, as amended -- the bill, as amended, is agreed to. [inaudible] under the previous order, the clerk will appoint the following conferees. the clerk: senators levin, lieberman, reed of rhode island, akaka, nelson of nebraska, webb, mccaskill, udall of colorado, hagan, begich, manchin, shaheen, blumenthal, mccain, inhofe, sessions, chambliss, wicker, brown of massachusetts, portman, ayotte, collins, graham, cornyn and vitter.
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mr. whitehouse: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island is recognized. mr. whitehouse: may i ask unanimous consent that we continue in morning business until 7:00 p.m. the presiding officer: is there an objection? no objection, so ordered. mr. whitehouse: i note the absencabsence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: quorum call:
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mr. begich: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska is recognized. beck beck recognized. mr. begich: i ask we vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. begich: you now lay before the senate a message from the house with respect to h.r. 2838. the presiding officer: the clerk lays before the senate a message from the house. the clerk: resolve that the house agree to the amendment of the senate to the title of the bill h.r. 2838, a title enact to authorize appropriations for coast guard for fiscal years 2012 through 2015 and for other purposes, and be it further resolved that the house agree to the amendment of the senate to the text of the foresaid bill with the following amendment. mr. begich: i further ask that
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the senate precedely proceed to a voice vote on the motion to proceed to the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 2838. the presiding officer: if there is no further debate, all those in favor signify by saying aye. opposed, nay. ayes appear to have it. the ayes do it it. the bill is passed. the bill as amended is passed. mr. begich: i further ask that the the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, and that any statements related to the measure be printed at the appropriate place in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. begich: madam president, to conclude, this is the coast guard reauthorization bill, a bill that's taken a little while to a work out but has incredible value obviously for my home state of alaska, for your home state of washington, but really for the country to make sure we have the right elements for our coast guard and it's very exciting to see it's now moved from this side and we anticipate the house will accept. so thank you very much, madam
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president. i note an absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 3783, which was received from the house of representatives. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 3783, an act to provide for a comprehensive strategy to counter iran's growing hostile presence and activity in the western hemisphere and for other purposes. the presiding officer: works the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that the rubio amendment
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at the desk be agreed to. the presiding officer: without t objection, so ordered. mr. coons: i know of no further debate on this measure and ask that the bill be read for a third time and that the senate proceed to a vote. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. the clerk: h.r. 3783, an act to provide for a comprehensive strategy to counter iran's growing hostile presence and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: if there's no further debate, the question is on the passage as amended. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill as amended is passed. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate and that any statements relating to the bill appear at this point in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. 3677, introduced
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earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 3677, a bill to make a technical correction to the flood disaster protection act of 1973. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will row tproceed to the measure. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read three times and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to the bill be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 614, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 614, celebrating the world peace corps mission and the world peace prize. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. coons: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any related statements be printed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the
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senate now proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 615, which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 615, congratulating the recipients of the 2012 nobel prize in chemistry. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. coons: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, that the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i now yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. coons: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that at 11:30 a.m. thursday, december 13, the senate resume consideration of s. 3637, the fdic t.a.g., or tag program, extension bill. that it be in order for the republican leader or his designee to raise a budget point of order against the bill, that if a point of order is so raised, the majority leader or his designee be recognized to move to waive the point of ord order. that the time until 12:00 noon be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. that at 12:00 noon, the senate
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vote on the motion to waive the budget point of order, if such a motion is made. that if the motion to waive is successful, that the senate then proceed to the vote on the motion to invoke cloture on s. 3637. further, that if the motion to waive is not successful, the cloture motion be vitiated and the majority leader be recognized. finally, mr. president, that if a budget point of order is not raised, the time until 12:00 noon be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees, that at 12:00 noon, the senate proceed to a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on s. 3637. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. leader, i now -- excuse me. mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that whlt senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. on thursday, december 13, 2012. that following the prayer and the pledge of allegiance, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. that following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business until 11:30 a.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each with the first hour equally divided and
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controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the final half. and that following morning business, the senate then resume consideration of s. 3637, the fdic t.a.g. extension legislation under the previous order. finally, that the filing deadline for all second-degree amendments to s. 3637 be 10:30 a.m. on thursday. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, there will be up to two roll call votes at 12:00 noon tomorrow. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate will stand adjourned until thursday, 9:30 a.m., until thursday, 9:30 a.m.,
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>> delivered through a network of local and state public housing authorities or phas. despite the growth, the programs play in the nation safety net, facing a number of challenges. these include administrative procedures, federal funding constraints that have local agencies struggling to do more with less. turning down vouchers for homeless vets or shut down
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completely due to a lack of administer the program. given the challenges and the nation's fiscal position, it is essential that our federal programs operate effectively and efficiently. earlier this year, senator menendez's subcommittee held a hearing to gather stake holders recommendations for improving the programs. many of those focus on common sense ideas that have been considered in reform bills in recent years such as streamlining housing inspection schedules, simplfying inspections, and providing new housing opportunities through the use of project based vouchers. some of these suggestions would also streamline processes and
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hud section eight project base rental assistant program. we have invited secretary -- assistant secretary here to share administration's recommendations on this important topic. i look forward to learning where there may be consensus around common sense reforms that may turn to section 8 and public housing assistance programs for our families, partners, and taxpayers. are there any other members -- [laughter] >> that's a good question. [laughter] >> jack, you want to make a brief opening statement? >> mr. chairman, thank you, again, for holing the hearing, important welcome, and i look forward to the testimony, thank you, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, all, and i want to remind my colleague that the
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record will be open for the next seven days for opening statements and any other materials who would like to submit, and now i'll briefly introduce the honorable senator pete, assistant secretary for public housing at the u.s. department of housing and urban development, and in this capacity, she has day-to-day oversight of hud's public housing and the voucher programs as well as hud's office on the programs. since secretary eriques, you may proceed with your testimony. >> thank you, and good morning. chairman johnson, ranking member shelby, and members of the committee, thank you for letting me testify this morning on the housing voucher programs.
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the voucher public housing program provide critical housing assistance in communities across the in this case. these programs serve extremely poor families, many elderly or disabled. not surprisingly, with the recent recession, the demand for rental assistance increased. hud recognizes the urgent need to streamline its rental assistance program in order to reduce burdens on public housing authorities and increase overall efficiency and generate cost savings where possible. in light of the persistent demand for rental housing, we are also working hard to preserve public housing. my testimony today covers three important approaches, streamlining, simp fying the programs, further reforming the structure to strengthen the portfolio, and increasing flexibility to respond to local housing needs. there is broad external consensus among policy experts and practitioners for a number of key reforms to streamline and
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reform the hud rental rental ase program. hud put forward a number of reforms around which there's consensus including consolidating the voucher and public housing self-sufficiency programs and opening eligibility to multifamily residence. enacting a rental policy demonstration to test the effectiveness of different policies and encouraging family, economic, dependent and self-sufficiency, and authorizing biannual inspections for housing choice voucher units to reduce administrative and financial burden. we are exploring further supreme lining measures that have statutory authority and may be worth pursuing in fiscal year 2014. the simplification extends to the future of public housing as well w's importance of alining the oversight structure with basic property management principles. small public housing authority view the structure known as the public housing assessment
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system, or phas, as unworkable. the program is heavy-handed, and smallhousing authorities pose little risk to hud, and hud should, therefore, scale back on the agencies. in response to the concerns, we have taken steps on how they are scored-under-par the system, and we are willing to change and consider other changes as well. broader reform that embraces traditional real estate management practices bring substantial administrative relief to phas of all sizes helping to put the public housing portfolio on a solid foundation. reform of the structures, the next step on the path, established nearly a decade ago with the implementation of asset management, a system of,ing -- a system of accounting, budget, and management are performed at the local level rather than the public housing funding level.
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the administration, known as rad, addresses the contract relationship between public housing authorities and hud. it offers participating housing authorities the option to convert to long term project-based section a contracts to have private contracts to those similar to private property owners participating in hud's multifamily programs. we expect this helps reverse the loss of public housing unites and prereceiver the port -- preserve the portfolio moving forward. authorized in 1996 as a demonstration, as well, to provide a limited number of housing authorities with the statutory and relatory authority to test practices that increase cost effectiveness, reward employment, economic independence, and increase housing choices for low-income families. mtw enabled housing authorities to pioneer innovative approaches in serving homeless families, resident earnings and asset, achieving cost efficiencies, and
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leverages private capital. for example, home forward, known as the portland housing authority in portland, oregon, used project-based vouchers to provide houses to formally homeless veterans served by a service coordinator and services provided by the va program. flexibility allows home forward to provide security deposits to veterans using housing vouchers as well. the department has some of the most important stake holders from public housing authorities and advocacy communities able to negotiate through differences over mtw in order to advance broader section 8 reform. as the community crafts legislation, we hope you consider the stake holder approach. mr. chairman, there is an irrefutable need for rental assistance in the nation. at the same time, there is long standing consensus on a set of reforms that will streamline and
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simply administration of the voucher system and housing program. hud is committed to improving not just the administration of the programs, but its oversight of the public housing programs as well, and we look forward to working with the committee and industry partners to develop property-based oversight structure. we also recognize any expansion of the mtw program must be coupled with measures to protect tenants, ensure oversight, and evaluate results. i look forward to your questions, thank you. >> thank you for your testimony. as we begin the questions, i will ask the clerk to put five minutes on the clock for each member. as i mentioned earlier, phes and those around the country struggling to provide services to families given in ready funding. how well the proposals we've been discussing here reduce the
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burdens on phas, particularly small agencies serving large areas, like those in south dakota. >> good question, and thank you very much. our proposals streamline and administration look at options of having smaller agency band together in order to have economies of scale in their programs. in addition, we think that there are streamline opportunities around inspections, around rent certifications, that could happen, particularly for those families on fixed incomes and could happen on a less frequent basis because that income change is small and is known year after year. we believe the inspection protocols could move from annual to biannual, particularly in housing authorities where there
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is a known population with less wear and tear on those units, which, indeed, may free up housing authority staff, create efficiencies in the economies, and allow housing authorities to spread their precious resources further to serve the populations that are housed in the properties. >> phas, in my state, also described difficulties in keeping up with regulatory burdens and paperwork. for example, south dakotans mentioned that they are often asked to submit the same information multiple times. we must, obviously, find a balance between the needs to provide appropriate oversight at taxpayers' dollars with the needs of agencies, particularly small entities who have limited staff and funding. are you examining the threat of
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action that hud can take to reduce the burdens on small phas? >> yes, we are examining, particularly, the burden -- the reporting the regulatory burden on small phas, and, indeed, we're trying a couple things on a couple different areas. one, as i said earlier, we want to look at what we can do to streamline, across the board, and, two, we are looking at our own data collection systems to make sure that we ask for it once. we don't ask for it in repetitive ways, and when we ask for it, it's information we're going to use; not information that we're not. we want to make sure the data collection is ooze -- is as tight as possible. in addition, regulatory relief to small agencies in particular, there's some things that we think make totally good sense from a property management and monitoring perspective. we want to take those, not just for small agencies, but we want to take them to scale because if they are good for small agencies
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doing real estate property management, then they are good for other, larger agencies to do that same work as well. there are other issues with regulatory streamlining to talk with the committee and small agencies about what they need to really run their business and balance that with what hud needs for its own monitoring. we realize that we need to look at risk and assess risk, and generally small housing authorities, if you follow the money. small agencies are left with riskier propositions than larging housing authorities who get the bulk. we want to strike a balance and make sure we're as effective and efficient with all of our stake holders. >> you have recommended increasing the medical deduction used in income and represent calculations from three to 10% of income.
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previous versions of the senate's legislation and the bill under discretion in the house financial services committee take a broader approach to simplefying, and it would streamline deductions and complicated income calculations and replace them with hard standard deductions. do you support the broader approach to simplifying reductions? >> yes, we support a broader approach to simplifying thinking there's less errors, easier for residents to understand the changes, easier for housing authority staff to compute and make less mistakes in the computations. we also think that there needs to be a balance between standard deductions and both on standard
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deductions in preparing that with any changes in the medical deductions so there's a balanced program. this is truly not to pardon harr cause greater cost born by the most economically vulnerable citizens that we house in our program. >> senator reid. >> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman, and thank you, madam secretary, and as you know one of the consistent themes here from your department and the chairman's questioning is lowering the deadweight costs and better small housing authoritying. you're trying to do thatment one issue that came recently to our attention is that the agency recognized in the awarding of the fss grants, there was errors. you are trying to correct those errors. we have a housing authority in
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the area trying to fix that, and housing authorities, when they have to go back and redo the work, it adds to the administrative cost. do you have an insight as to what happened and what are you doing? >> yes, thank you for that question. i sometimes refer to it as conflicts convergence. several things went wrong, and they all went wrong at the same time, and, hence, we find ourselves in having made a mistake. in the award, in the calculations for the awards for the family self-sufficiency grants on the voucher side, as it relates to small housing authority or any housing authority that applies under the nof organization, earlier this year, we are not asking for a resubmission. >> uh-huh. >> we are going to reprocess starting at the point where hud made its first mistake, and that was our data pulse. i want to be very clear. the nofa, as written, made a
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point. it said we will do a dataoll from our data base that looks at the yearlong number of families registered under the family self-sufficiency program at any particular housing authority. we will post that data on a website, and the link is in the nofa. if you clicked there, electronically, it automatically took you to that posting. in addition, we said, please, check the postings to see the numbers we have for your particular housing authority, and it said if that -- if you disagree with that number, could you please then submit a supplemental or ad hoc report to accompany your submission, and we used then, that submission as the way to calculate the funding for those housing authorities that submitted the ad hoc report. even with that, our data poll was a point in time opposed to
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an entire year, and so it didn't take into account, you might have had a thousand people at the beginning of the year, people graduated throughout the year, and you're replacing them so the number is lower at the point of time of the poll. that was the mistake number one. what we're doing is asking, in fact, a letter went out friday to all housing authorities that submitted about 750 of them saying we'll reprocess. here's the information. this is the reposting. this is where you will find it. please, again, check the reposting. pull your own numbers. resubmit, and from that point forward, we are going to then actually reprocess all of those applications. make the adjustments where people srb some people got awards that should not have. others got lower awards, some people got higher amounts than they were do. when all is said and done,
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because it's a mace tick of -- mistake of the department, we do not want housing authorities and cascading down to residents who use the service of self-sufficiency coordinator, we don't want folks to be harmed, and so for people who should not have been awarded money, we are going to make available extraordinary ad min fees for them so if they continued to hire people and make employment commitments, that they will not be harmed, can move forward, and will not have to take a loss and lay people off. >> thank you, madam secretary. two points because my time a winding down. you and your proposal for, essentially, merging or consolidating the fss voucher program and the program for public housing authorities, i think that's part of your design. that's reflective of the legislation that i've submitted and some of my colleagues are supporting. >> yeah. >> and i think it makes sense.
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second point, and you eluded to it too, the notion of banding together, spreading overhead costs, something i think we should all explore. you know, i'm sure there are communities in south dakota and new jersey and rhode island where there's one housing official trying to cope with all of this in a really difficult climate, and so to the extent we can incentivize this sort of coming together, maybe not formally, but through sort of joint services, joint overhead, that would be very, very good so any advice you have for us going forward, we'd appreciate that, but thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, madam secretary. >> thank you, sir. >> senator crapo. >> thank you, mr. chairman, first of all, i apologize as i can only be here for a couple moments, but i wanted to stop by and indicate to you, the chair, as well as to our witness and to
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the other members of the committee, that in these difficult budget times that we see, and the understanding, i think, that we all have the funding issues that are critical, i think it's important for us to focus on the kind of regulatory activity that the department can bring, and the focus it can bring to the housing issues. i think that the deregulation of section eight is very critical and important, and strengthening, and i would hope, in that process, that the moving to work program could get strengthening and a renewed strong focus as we move forward. i just wanted to stop in and indicate my support for the process that's moving forward, and encourage that we work closely together on it. again, i apologize, fourth one in this hour, and i have another one to get to so i apologize, i have to step right out. >> madam secretary, do you have
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any comments with the issues? >> we just look forward to working with the committee, both in strengthening regulatory oversight that's appropriate in balancing that with the needs of housing horses to get their work done to serve the people who are housed in those programs so thank you very much, sir. >> senator menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thanks for calling this hearing. we had a hearing in the subcommittee that laid a foundation, and i'm pleased to see the secretary here to build upon it. madam secretary, we have been discussing reforms to section 8 for some time now, and i think there is a tendency to forget how incredibly pressing the need for action really is. affordable housing advocates and housing authorities back in new jersey are telling me that these forms -- reforms cannot wait, and they are urgently needed now so can you give the committee a sense of the impact overtime if
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congress fails to act relatively soon after such a long time for having the discussion after implementing specific reform divisions. what flows from that? >> that's a really good question, thank you, senator. i'm taking a moment because i want to get centered because i think there's lots of potential issues that will flow from this. as you know already, as administrative fees, which was money that housing authorities get for leasing units under the section 8 side, as those fees decrease, the workload doesn't so what they have to do, the kind of questions they have to ask, the kind of documentation offered on a regular basis does not decrease in spite of the fact that the funding to do that work has decreased which meant that housing authorities in some
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instances have to lay people off, and that has led to longer waiting lists for people. it's led -- then the people are longer so they lived in more difficult conditions longer, and it's also meant that as you've laid off people with decreasing funding, that housing authority employees, themselves, will find themselves in difficult straights as well. the way in which we think about how that program gets managed gets more difficult. the less people, more workload or similar workload means potential for more error, potential for more error means potential for wasted taxpayer dollars, and so we really do need to think about streamlining so that the work gets done, the people get out as quickly as possible, and the operations and the business processes for housing authorities are stream
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lined and efficient so error are minimized and maximized with the dollars and proashes resources. >> i appreciate that. how about housing authorities refusing to run their voucher programs and turning down vast vouchers to assist homeless veterans and the loss of hard units? >> we have seen that in several instances, and, in fact, not just vouchers, but we are seeing about a dozen housing authorities deciding they are not going to operate a voucher program anymore, and they have made arrangements to convey that operation, to son sol date that operation with another larger housing authority. it means that the folks who need the subsidy, the affordability, are not getting served. it means that the amount of work it takes to do the job well is not supported, and it means, most of all, that we'll have homeless veterans and other
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families, homeless families in conditions that should not be tolerated. >> let me quickly, there are some core reform precisions that i'd like to get your comment on. one is having a stable voucher renewal fund policy that would create predictability because i'm told it's hard for housing authorities to plan for the year ahead when they don't know exactly what that will do, and, also, clarify how much money housing authorities can hold in reserves without it taken off the set, and also, flexibility provisions that are being discussed because they have been discussed in project-based vouchers enabling housing authorities to better assist families, especially elderly and disabled families, families transitioning out of homelessness, to live in affordable housing communities of opportunity to receive services on-site.
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how could -- how would that predictability and flexibility translate into more families served, if if does translate into that. >> it's something we'd endorse wholeheartedly because an authority can plan moving forward, understand its resources, and tabulate and figure out how best to run its program. that does not just benefits housing authority and the employees, but benefits residents who are participating in the programs, the voucher side, and we heard in the past these issues are on short falls or money not being -- having sufficient funds so everybody who needs to be housed or be renewed have their voucher renewed will be able to do that, and this will make sure that we don't have to have those discussions again.
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.. the natural tendency for housing authority is to want to house as many people on its waiting list as possible. that's why we're all in this business. having a predictability -- having predictability will allow them to do that, particularly when it is coupled with understanding what you're reserve levels are, and it will be swept.
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understanding that we are asking for as well is the reallocation authority for the secretary, so in some markets it may be easier to lease, and you may have more room and some housing authorities may not be a will to leases real -- readily and will i use all the money. and so the ability to reallocate said that we can continue to house and maximize housing across this nation is something that we will look forward to as well. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. thank you cannot miss secretary, for your answers. a look for -- look forward to working with the chair and his to see if this is something that we with them housing context can prioritize because i think there are two shared goals , getting people to a place to call home and saving taxpayers money. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> you support the idea of spreading consortium for
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purposes of partnerships to administer their public housing programs. congress initially authorized the use of consortium in 1988, yet i understand phe is taking full advantage of this authority. what is hud doing to remove barriers to use and facilitate phe participation if they are determining it will meet the local needs? >> there are several actions we're taking right now. first of all, it's allowed in voucher administering agencies, but not on the public housing sign. and so we are looking to extend the ability to have that happen in the public housing pro ranks. in addition, right now housing
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authorities, let's say three or four housing authorities band together to get some scale to simplify the operation, but they still have to up fill out three or four separate reports because they are still seen as three or four separate public housing entities. and so we're looking at ways -- again, this is why streamlining and administrative flexibility is so important because we are trying to figure out ways in which housing authorities could file one report, for example, that would cover their agencies. we would still ask each housing authority to file for its own tents and its own participants into our, what we call our database, which is our personal information on every single household in the voucher program in the public housing side. we would ask that under family self-sufficiency there is one
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report this is done that covers what the goals our early on in the program, and then if they have met those goals at a year-end report. so we're looking in all sorts of ways. in fact, we have been working with the number of housing authorities, all range of sizes across the country asking them what information they need to run their day-to-day business, upon which they make their business decisions and then translating that into an what about that information we could collect in use since they're doing it already that we could then use to monitor as well so that we are not asking for different information or a different format than they already collect. >> you mentioned your support for the rental assistance demonstration enacted in fiscal 2012.
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can you update us on the status of this demonstration? secondly, can you also comment on the add draft house proposal to authorize funds for use in this conversion demonstration and how these funds may be used to preserve assisted housing? >> yes. thank you, sir. so, the rental assistance program was authorized in the fiscal 2012. is designed initially as a 2-application time print for the public housing properties because we knew that there were houses ready to submit and others really wanted to spend some time thinking through their applications at a later date. the initial application ended october 204th, just several weeks ago. we had a number of applications that are still being tabulated, but they range from small
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housing authorities to medium to large. we can provide greater tabulation. on an ongoing, rolling basis, applications are coming in after the october teefor date. we will look at those after this initial review. as you know, the previous bill said that we can get up to 60,000 units and at no cost and either using project based contracts or project based vouchers. in addition, in that 60,000 cab is also authorizing for multifamily programs, one supplement, rental assistance payment and section eight my rehab. so we strongly support this program as a way to preserve
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public housing to get enough capital and used come private sector, using private sector tools, financing tools to get private money into the public arena to help rehabilitate and maintain these properties. we do know that there are a number of properties for him this does not work because they have larger capital need. and so we look forward "we have seen in previous iterations and the house side, additional money going into that program which would help housing authorities with greater capital needs leverage greater amounts of private sector equity. but what we are seeing, which is really helpful, is housing authorities using a variety of tools for mixed finance deals to make this happen. again, it puts them on the same as real-estate platform as everything else in the
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real-estate market place, using the equity from properties to leverage capital improvement dollars to make sure the properties are maintained at current standards and will continue to improve and continue to be available to serve the people who live there now and for future generations who need the economic stability. >> i would like to thank assistant secretary k-9 for your testimony and for being here with us today. this hearing is adjourned. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> the senate today continued work on a 2-year extension of
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the federal deposit insurance corporation program called transaction account karen t. it provides unlimited insurance, non-interest bearing bank accounts. also today, several retiring senators gave farewell speeches on the senate floor. one of those senators spoke of leaving the senate after serving six terms. >> madame president, i rise today to address my colleagues on a number of issues, the off future of theer united states. a offer some perspective on senatl service. in a few weeks i will leave thet senate for new pursuits that will allow me to develop muche b deeperee attention to a number e issues that have been a part of service. among these are preventing the f proliferation of weapons of masg destruction and developing moref efficient ways to feed the worle .
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i am especially pleased that i will be serving on the faculty of the university of indianapolis and helping that institution established inward o washington program.ndeavorsf i look forward to announcing additional endeavors of serviceg in the coming weeks. my service in the senate would not have been possible without f the encouragement and theoving constant support of my loving fe, wife, our four sons, and the of entire family, most of which is. with us here in the gallery today. to their strength and sacrifices have been indispensablevice to y public service.great numb o i amf also very much indebted td a great number of talented andee loyal friends who have served with me in the senate, including, by my count, more of than 300 senators, hundreds of, personal and committee staff members, and more than a
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thousand students in turns.f in my experience it is difficulo to conceive of am better platfos than which to devote oneself toh public service and the searchtio for solutions, the national and international problems.ounders's at its best this said is one of the founders most important been creations.itical a great deal has been written recently about political discord in the united states. with some commentators judging that partisanship high. having seen quite a few periods in the congress when political struggles were portrayed in this way, i hesitate to describe our current state as the most partisan ever, but i do believe that as an institution, we have not lived up to the expectations of our constituents to make excellence in governance our top priority. many of us have had some type of
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executive experience as governors, mayors, corporation chiefs, cabinet officials. i had the good fortune of serving two terms as mayor of indianapolis prior to my senate service. and for the last 36 years, i've attempted to apply lessons learned during those early governing experiences to my work in the senate. as a mayor, my responsibility for what happened in my city was fficehat happened in my city was comprehensive and inescapablee citizens have the mayors of thic accountable. trash collection, fixing stree potholes in the streets, snow removal, but also for executingc strategies, economic and sociali advancement of the city's. w in legislative life, by contrast , we are responsible for positions expressed through votes, co-sponsor shipped in
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interviewsit, and other means. declared dozens or even hundreds of positions, stand for office d knowing that with the position ou are displacing some group of voters. t we do our country a disservice if we this -- mistake the active taking positions for government. they're not the same thing. ite government requires. adaptation through said -- shifting circumstances.n it also requires finding common ground with americans to have ar different vision than your own. it requires leaders you believet like edmundo burke, that their s first responsibility to their ay constituents is to apply their best judgment. a a is possible to be elected ann reelected again and again and gained prominence in the senate by giving very little thought the government's. one can even gain considerable t
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notoriety by devoting one'sects career to the political aspects of the senators job, namely promoting the party line,ic raising money, focusing on public. relations.e responsibility for legislative y shortcomings can be pinned on the other party or even intractable members of one's owe party. none of us are above politics,es nor did the founders expected tw be, but obviously we should be aspiring to something greatero n than this. have too often in recent yearsselvesi members of congress have lockedf themselves in to the slate of inflexible positions, many oftea which have no hope of being implemented in a divided government.er some of these positions have been further calcified by pledges signed for political purposes. too often we have failed to listen to one another andmulgat question whether the orthodox
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views being promulgated by our party is make strategic sense for america's future. the result has been negative public perceptions of congress. erasmus and pull found that only 10 percent of likely voters givc congress a rating of excellent orr ge,ood.f the irony is that having seen several generations of lawmakera passed through thett body, i can attest that the vast majority are hard-workingse guy genuinela interested in public service and eager to contribute to the welfare our country. often, the public does notas believe that. faings it's easier to assume byncompetc congressional failings and the incompetence or even malfeasance of individual legislators or,sh. rrrhaps hamas as some believe, washington d.c. itself isup far corrupting.nk tha
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it is far more disconcerting to think that our democracy shortcomings are complex and ite defies simple solutions.lists but the founders are realists. f they understood the power of pac factionalism, parochialism, andt personal ambition.ood they understood that good intentions would not always acc, prevail and accordingly, they designed the system to check abuse and prevent power from the accumulating in a few hands. a licy knew that the efficient reb nperation of such a republic would require a great deal of re cooperation. they knew that it would require most elected officials to have d dedication to governments, and they trusted that leaders would. arise in every era to make theie vision work. of the senate has a unique role. hav toe play. we have attributes not possessed by including staying power.
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administrations turnover every four or eight years, but senators can have careerdecadesa spanningt decades that allow thm to apply expertise and political understanding to problems over many years, even as administrations come and go. bii we can also can for a bipartisan from work on aev policy. even a small bipartisan group os senators cooperating on a difficult problem is a powerful signal of the possibility for s. unifying solutions. of my health is the senators willne devote much more of their energies to governance. in a perfect world we would not only govern, we would execute a coherent strategy. that is a very high bar for a in legislative branch to clear. wih we must aspire to it and pside cooperation with the president because we are facing fundamental changes in the world that will deeply affect american
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security and standard of livingt the lists of such changes as o long, but its starts in asia ina with the rise of china and india economic, political, and military powers. the obama administration has pot conspicuously an ounce to pet it to asia. at the center of this bid is china, which exists as both an adversary to certain u.s.lowrave interest and a fellow traveler,n sharing mutual goals andthe vulnerabilities on others. the ongoing challenge will be for the united states to disceri , sometimes issue by issue whether china is an adversary or partner. i this calibration will impact a d america's relations with the rest of asia, and may ultimately determine prospects for war or peace in this will. t while visiting indonesia,, i thailand, and the philippines ir octoberem i was reminded of thet
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economic vitality of southeast h asia and the fact that the ten countries comprising. [indiscernible] represent now the fourth larges. export market of the united states. these countries are center stag. to the circumstances with chinaa we must stand firm with our friends throughout asia and actively pursue prospects for a free trade and open sea lanes and other policies that will strengthen american economic fac growth t.lobal more broadly, we face the, specter of global resource constraints, especially deficiencies of energy and food that can stimulate conflict and deepen poverty. made we have made gains in domestic energy production. dep we remain highly vulnerable still our dependency on oil and equally important, even if we are able to produce more energy
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and home, we cannot isolate to e ourselves from energy drivenave shocks to the global economy. in other words, we have to cooperate with other nations ing improving the global system of manufacturing and moving energy supplies currently a key to this is helping to insure the completiog ofy the seven energy corridor a serving central and southeasterg europe and unleashing our own t natural gas exports to address allies the energy vulnerabilities of our closest allies.food pctio the potential global crisis ove. food production is less well understood, whereas research is opening many new frontiers,h productivity of global agriculture will not keep up with projected to last many countries change theia policies. wider this starts with a much widerlug embrace of agriculture
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technology, includinghniques. genetically modified techniqueso the risks of climate changethis intensified is imperative. even as we deal with potential resource constraints, our country remains vulnerable to terrorism and asymmetric the iet warfare. cial m access to theed internet and del social media has deeply alterede international politics. it's in most cases for the better, but it as also contributed the instability through sudden upheavals like the arabs bring, up destructive terrorist to movements to franchise intenfier shemselves, intensify risks offs cyber tac, espionage, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.trophe the potential catastrophe remains that a major terrorist attack on america and implying d weapons of mass destruction. lot if that happens, in addition toh the allies lost, our
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expectations for economic growtn and budget balancing could be set back a decade more. having devoted considerable time to this problem, my experiences there are no silver bullets protecting the united states from all those of mass destruction is a painstaking -- process that every day musttary. employ our best technological diplomatic and military tools.sf ti must maintain competitivenesa of the united states and the international community. we should see education, energyl efficiency, access to global markets, the attraction of immigrant entrepreneurs, and other factors as national view security issues. amecan my own view is that the fundamentals of american societl still offer us the best chance e toti play in global can match competitiveness. no other country can match theur quality and variety of our poste
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secondary education. a we have the broadest scientific and technological base and the. most advanced agricultural yound system. our population is younger andstz more mobile than most other can industrialized nations. we still i can flourish in this global marketplace if we nurtured the competitive geniusd of the american people that haso allowed us, time and time againl to reinvent our economy.s but we must deal with failures of governments that have delayed resolutions to the obviousional problems. ec rational strategy for our s long-term growth and security should fail to restrain current entitlement attempt to gain the maximum resp strategic a vantage from our human resource potential shouldi fail to enact comprehensive immigration reform, but resolvea the status of undocumented most immigrants and encourage the
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most talented immigrants to americ contribute to america's future. faced with immense responsibility, there is a need to elevate our senate debate.nt it is vital that the president and congress establish a closer working relationship, especiallr on national security. this is not just a matter of process. it is necessary tap undergroundt national unity and prevent a severe crisis. this cooperation depends on congressional leaders who are willing to set aside partisan advantage and on administration officials to understand the benefits of having the supportof of congress being worth the effort it takes to secure it.sit currently, the national securitn dialogue between the president s and congress, in my judgment, is one of the least destructive i f have ever witnessed.
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there is little foundation foren resolving national securitytatin disputes or even the expectation that this can occur. - before the next september 11th 9 the president must be willing tl call republicans to the oval ese office to establish the basis for a working partnership ineigy foreign-policy republicans must be willing to suspend reflexive opposition that serves no purpose but to limit their own role in strategic questions and render cooperation impossible. all parties should recognize thn need for eunice see in the coming year when a vince throughout the middle east may test american national security in the extreme waste. you i command you to view with a for commitment that led you to stann for election in the united states senate to begin with. running for office is eight gre
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difficult endeavor that is usually accompanied by great of personal risk and cost. posit each one of you is capable ofng being a positive force for changing the tone of debate incy our couountry.ct each one of you has antegrity responsibility that only to acto with integrity and represent your constituents, but also tond make the informed and imaginative choices on which could governments for our country pence.ure. , optimistic about our country's future. eernal i believe that both internal divisions and external threats can be overcome.piration he has states will continue to g serve as the inspiration foredo, people seeking peace, freedom, and economic prosperity. sate the united states senate should and will be at the forefront oft this advancements..ayrom may we seek each day, the wisdof and the will to do our best in . the governance of our countrytae and may god continue to blast
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the united states of america. i yield the floor. >> the senator from indiana. >> i rise today in services ric senator richard lugar and to pat tribute to his legacy. i have served alongside him as the junior senator from indiana during my i tour, to tours of service here in the united states senate. make all of us to seek public service want to make a difference. certainly senator lugar has donl at.loped a at an early age he developed a passion for knowledge and a native of indianapolis, he was valedictorian at short ridge has cool. then and still a distinguished institutionition where knowledgt at the forefront of everythingfr down in a school.s, is also
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one of our former members, ted stevens, is also a graduate fron short range high-school.ictorian dick lugar went on to become valedictorian in college when he graduated from denison universi university with a degree in a economics. he w college at oxford university as a rhodes scholar and obtained a second pass as degree and aar master's degree in politics, niilosophy, and economics. the u today he is one of the most decorated scholars in the united states senate with 46 honorary degrees from 15 states and the district of columbia. mos now, tfollowing these most impressive academicy in achievements, the senator spent several years in the united states navy, ultimately serving as an intelligence prefer forthc admiralhi ali burke, chief of ny naval operations. i would say the navy and admiral burke shows the best person that they could have for that lugar particular job. he quickly became well-known fos
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not only his hard work, but hiss ability to lead and his act intellectual prowess. the senator then returned tosenr indiana where at the young age of 35 he became the mayor of indianapolis, serving two termso from 1968 until 1975. there is no question he is infel recognized as one of the mostons influential and visionary maybe mayor's indiana has ever seen, and i would suggest maybe the country has ever seen. now, having just left military service myself, i was working full-time and attending law lea school at night. and me to that did not leave much time foo marcia and i too enjoyed the amenities of indianapolis.e .. very few to enjoy at that particular time. it was then that our newly elected mayor began to remarkable transformation of i understan